Third time is the charm right? The first go ’round we got reviewed. Which is super news. So many NIDA (National Institute of Drugs and Alcohol) grants just get kicked out and getting reviewed is a big deal. This grant is over 200 pages. How many pages did I do? Maybe 6? This time I just had to edit my part. Just creating these pages was a challenge for me. I’m a pup in the grant world.
It was my job to get all the letters of support. Dr. Vassileva’s post doc Beth (Dr. Long) helped and my friend Pete got a school board member letter. We got some juicy ones. Letters from school counselors, school board members, principals, superintendents, non profits and senators. Senator Kaine, Senator Deeds, Dr. Casey, Dr. Lane and Dr. Siddiqi from Chesterfield County, Jon Young Richmond School board, Attorney General Mark Herring. Plus some other stars.
Now we wait. We probably will hear back in June or so. Some of you are scratching your heads, “What is Preventure?”
Preventure is an evidence-based school program associated with 30-80% reduction in adolescent substance use in schools. This intervention focuses on teaching teens coping strategies to manage personality traits associated with mental illness that predispose them to addiction and associated high risk behaviors. It’s basically two 90-minute session workshops. Beacon Tree is partnering with VCU on this grant. (We are also focusing on two pilots in the fall and partnering with VCU and Virginia Recovery Foundation. That’s separate from this.)
The intervention focuses on teaching at-risk teens the life skills to manage one of the four personality traits that put them at risk for addiction: sensation seeking, impulsiveness, anxiety sensitivity, and hopelessness.
- A 24-question assessment is given to identify high risk students. About 45% in a school will qualify for the workshops (Questionnaire is below to download)
- Two 90-minute coping skills workshops are offered to these students. Two workshops for each trait
- The workshops teach students techniques to address their most troublesome trait and encourages them to use these tools
- Each student is provided a skills manual for their high risk trait, which they can keep
- Each school participating in the project is offered training workshops which will allow them to continue to provide the intervention to future students in their schools
- Professor Jasmin Vassileva PhD from VCU Institute of Drug & Alcohol Studies (IDAS) and Beacon Tree Foundation, are spearheading the effort to bring this program to Virginia. NIH reviewed a grant submitted in February 2017 and invited VCU to resubmit with changes November 6, 2017. We did and there was a technical error so we resubmitted March 5, 2018.
- Beacon Tree, in parternship w/ VCU IDAS, will pilot two local schools in fall of 2018
- The intervention is currently being done at a school in Virginia– Georgetown in Hanover county. These school counselors got an ABC grant after hearing about it at a December 2016 public seminar hosted by VCU IDAS and Beacon Tree.
The coping skills taught will offer kids the skills they need to manage relationships and curb high risk behaviors associated with those personality traits such as drinking and doing drugs, ending up in jail, dropping out or failing in school, dying by accident, or by suicide.
Want to see the 24 questions to see where you or your loved one ranks in terms of scoring for a high-risk trait? Download that here. Just knowing the trait that you need to focus on can help those who need it.